Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

Program provides 5,000 free meals to Providence children at neighborhood recreation centers and parks.

Starting July 5, the City of Providence will serve lunch (and, at one site, breakfast) to kids who are 18 years old and younger. Lunches are served Monday through Friday through August 19, 2011. The program allows for meals to be eaten at the site only. The federal program, which is administered by the Parks Department in conjunction with the Rhode Island Department of Education, serves free breakfast and lunch to children at 26 area recreation centers, pools, water parks and community organizations. More info on the City of Providence's website here.

During the 2010-2011 school year, 88% of Providence's school children were eligible for free and reduced lunch during the school year. The city expects to feed 5,000 kids per day during the summer at the following locations:

Davey Lopes Pool - 227 Dudley Street
11:30AM — 1:30PM

Fox Point Waterpark - Wickenden Street
11:45AM — 1:45PM

George J. West Waterpark - Chalkstone/Mount Pleasant Avenue
10:45AM — 12:45PM

Joslin Recreation Center Pool - 17 Hyat Street
11:00AM — 1:00PM

Harriet and Sayles Waterpark - 199 Oxford Street
11:45AM — 1:45PM

Neutaconkanut Recreation Center Pool - 675 Plainfield Street
11:45AM — 1:45PM

Recreation Department — Main Building Waterpark - 11 West Drive
11:45AM — 1:15PM

Pleasant Street Waterpark - Pleasant Street
12:00 — 1:30PM

Sackett Street Waterpark - 159 Sackett Street
11:00AM — 12:45PM

Selim-Rogers Recreation Center Pool - 60 Camden Avenue
10:45AM — 12:45PM

Southside Waterpark - 674 Prairie Avenue
11:15AM — 1:15PM

West End Recreation Center Bucklin Pool - 109 Bucklin Street
12:00 — 1:30PM

Zuccolo Recreation Center Pool - 11 Gesler Street
12:00 — 1:30PM

Elmwood Community Center - 155 Niagara
10:30AM — 12:30PM

Lockwood Plaza - 50 Prairie Avenue
11:30AM — 1:30PM

Billy Taylor Playground - Camp Street
11:45AM — 1:45PM

Candace Street Playground - Candace & Orms Street
10:30AM — 12:30PM

Dexter Training Ground - 73 Dexter Street
10:30AM — 12:30PM

Fargnoli Park - Across 950 Smith Street
11:00AM — 1:00PM

Mattie Smith Playground - Glenham & Taylor Street
8:00 — 9:00AM (Breakfast)
11:30AM — 1:00PM (Lunch)

O’Brien Park - Corner of Regent Street & River Avenue
10:30AM — 12:30PM

Pearl Street Playground - Pearl & Providence Streets
11:15AM — 1:15PM

Riverside Park - 50 Aleppo Street
11:15AM — 1:15PM

Wiggins Village - 207 Cranston Street
11:00AM — 1:00PM

Donigian Park - 247 Valley Street
11:30AM — 1:30PM

For more information on the program, contact John Rotatori, Director of the Summer Food Services Program at 785-9450 ext 231.

Today meet Teny Gross, executive director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, local dad and panelist of the upcoming Kidoinfo Conversation, Family Traditions. Please join us on November 16th at Craftland in downtown Providence. Click here for details.

TENY GROSSKidoinfo: What neighborhood do you live in?
Teny Gross (TG): Providence Southside. South Elmwood.

Kidoinfo: Where were you born?
TG: Herzelia, Israel.

Kidoinfo: How long have you been in Rhode Island?
TG: Since August 2001.

Kidoinfo: What is your current state of mind?
TG: I feel very fortunate about my own family, and yet incredulous as to how difficult life is for so many children in this society.  We are shortchanging our future, and I feel that we cannot be bystanders to the suffering of so many kids.

Kidoinfo: Who’s in your family?
TG: Julia, my wife, our two boys; John and Julian, close family from Julia’s side who live local, and the Institute.

Kidoinfo: What trait do you most admire about your family?
TG: Love of life.

Kidoinfo: What is your favorite thing to do?
TG: Love reading these days, mainly non-fiction.  Have a series of photographs on my Facebook titled ‘reading’.

Kidoinfo: Where is your favorite place to hang out?
TG: Roger Williams Park, by our house.

Kidoinfo: Where would you most like to live?
TG: Here. Then Israel, Rome, London, Rio if it were safer. Many places are attractive.  I cannot imagine a boring place.

Kidoinfo: What do you like to do when you are not with your kids?
TG: Hang with Julia, my wife. I love my work at the Institute for Nonviolence, tennis, soccer, running, and honoring Irish tradition at a pub.

Kidoinfo: What is the most overrated thing about parenthood?
TG: Is it overrated? I think parenting is both simple commitment and a complicated skill that is today undervalued.

Kidoinfo: What is your most treasured possession?
TG: Family paintings of a few generations.

Kidoinfo: What superpower would you most like to have?
TG: Printing money. Some problems are easily solved with resources in the right hands.

Kidoinfo: Who is your favorite fictional mother or father?
TG: Dumbledore, from Harry Potter is Julia’s favorite. I am struck by how few figures I can recall. King Lear had an impact on me in 10th grade. The Father by Strindberg was a devastating play I saw at The National Theater in London.  In 5th grade we read a short passage from Charles Dickens, which was critical of a father, but I found the father to be all alone between his manual labor and his family.  An amazing dad is Roberto Benigni’s portrayal of a father hiding the reality of the Holocaust in the film, Life is Beautiful.

Kidoinfo: What are you going to do now that you have answered these questions?
TG: Read to my boys Native American stories, Trixter, which I got on a recent trip in Arizona.

The Kidoinfo Conversation about Family Traditions is made possible with support from our sponsors. Thank you to our lead sponsor, The Gordon School and our supporting sponsors; Craftland, Snow Beverages, WholeFoods, Leslie Kellogg (Residential Properties), Hannah’s Harvest, Cutler & Company, and Soul at Work.

An invitation from the Steel Yard:

Psssst…East Side parents. Yeah, you. Lean in.

Iron Pour 2008 - 02

OK. Heard of the Steel Yard, that West Side arts mecca, but never, um, actually been? Wanted to go to a cool Steel Yard event, like the Iron Pour, or take an awesome industrial arts class, like welding, but couldn’t find the time…or the actual location?

Yeah. I know. The Steel Yard is hard to find.

OK. Have I gotta great event for you — the East Meets West Family Friendraiser rocking the Steel Yard this Saturday, October 16th from 5 to 8 p.m.

Yardies are swinging open their gritty gates to East Side newbies. The goal is to introduce as many uninitiated East Siders as possible to the Yard, and get them fired up to support their artistic and community-minded work.

This special event is custom-made for families. Kids can explore the Yard’s newly-renovated grounds, which include funky sculptures and scads of green grass, and see a metal-working demo by sculptor Nate Nadeau. Parents can take a studio tour and knock back a beer with friends. And everyone gets to gather ‘round a bonfire. Come hungry. The Yard is putting on a finger-licking BBQ spread with smoked chicken, grilled dogs, slaw, greens and cornbread. Newbies, come and get it!

If you’re already a Yard fan, bring an East Side newbie - or three.

Suggested donation is $10 for adults. Kids free. Oh, and location. It’s 27 Sims Avenue, right off Promenade behind the Providence Place Mall. We’ll be waiting.

The early years are important for a child’s brain development and can affect how they continue to learn later on in life. That makes choosing a quality child care and early learning program very important. Finding consistent, quality child care that meets a family’s individual needs can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. SandBoxBrightStars has established a star rating system for licensed child care and early learning programs in Rhode Island helping parents make informed choices about their children’s care and early education.

BrightStars is a free, voluntary program for licensed child care and early learning programs in Rhode Island. It recognizes program quality and supports programs in their goals to improve quality. Programs can earn up to five stars. All programs participating in the program exceed state licensing standards. Participation in BrightStars involves a comprehensive assessment of program quality across standards and criteria.

Since the BrightStars program started in 2009, participation has been steadily increasing, with the largest group of BrightStars programs currently in Providence and surrounding areas. To see the list of participating programs, or to learn more about early learning quality, please visit or call us at (401) 398-7605.

BrightStars is supported by the United Way of Rhode Island, CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation, and the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. Partners include the RI Department of Education, RI Department of Health, and RI Department of Children, Youth & Families.

By Aja Blanc
Associate Educator for Family + Youth programs at the RISD Museum of Art

My line is childlike but not childish. It is very difficult to fake... to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt. — Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly, American, b. 1929. “Untitled”, 1976.
The Museum of Art, The Rhode Island School of Design.

For many people, a line is the first mark we ever make with our hands. For children learning to draw for the first time, it is a huge developmental milestone when those first scribbles are set to the page (or wall!). It is an experience that attunes children to cause and effect and acquaints them with their capacity for hand-eye coordination. Once we start to grow however, the joy of scribbles on a page fade as we feel a pressure for those lines to represent a drawn reality that we see in the world. That pressure to represent can grow so strong, many children learn at a very early age to abandon any creative expression that falls short of realistic representation.

However, there are many artists who dedicate much of their practice to exploring the power of line. Pat Steir, whose recent show at the RISD Museum celebrated the power of line, creates drawings and paintings that explore line as a fundamental effort to communicate. She has said that her work “shows something we all have in us, something that belongs to all of us but is obscured by our habitual way of seeing.”  Artist Cy Twombly speaks to the power of a line to express, but only when it is imbued with feeling. In his untitled painting above, now on view at the RISD Museum, Twombly creates a line that appears impermanent and spontaneous, evoking chalk scribbles on a blackboard expertly rendered in oil paint. When he says the line one must “project themselves into the child’s line”, it is to say that one must go back to those first lines of a child in, lines that are free to express without the pressure of representation.



The Parks & Recreation Department Fun Bus filled with kites, board games, hula hoops and more is visiting Providence’s neighborhood parks this summer!

From Providence City News:

Fun BusIf you see a large, colorful bus painted with images of children rumbling through your neighborhood, it’s probably the Providence Parks and Recreation Department Fun Bus.  Mayor David N. Cicilline announced that the Fun Bus has begun visiting the city’s neighborhood parks loaded with lots of activities for children like board games, a 35-foot inflatable obstacle course and hula hoops.
The Fun Bus visits a different neighborhood park every day throughout the summer from 12pm until 4pm.  In addition to board games and hula-hoops, the bus also has kites, jump ropes, tug-of-war equipment, footballs, basketballs, face painting and jewelry-making material and everything you need to compete in a potato sack race.  The bus is staffed with seven Parks and Recreation Department employees ready to engage children in fun activities.

“Whether it’s sailing on Narragansett Bay, playing golf, splashing at a water park or competing in a fierce tug-of-war, we’re working hard to come up with fun, affordable ways to keep children engaged in high-quality, safe activities this summer,” said Mayor Cicilline.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is also partnering with the YMCA of Greater Providence to bring the Y on the Move to the city’s parks.  Y on the Move engages children and families in health and wellness through interactive games, inflatable slide, bungee pull, sports wall and much more.

The Fun Bus schedule for the rest of the summer is as follows:


Despite the heat, we had a great turnout on Tuesday at Burnside Park for the first Kidoinfo Providence Storytime. Thank you to Jennifer Smith and Deb Dormody of Greater Kennedy Plaza and the City Providence for supporting this event! I enjoyed sharing my sons' copy of Little Pea and meeting the illustrator Jen Corace.Storytime 01

Here's a recap below in this weeks edition of Mayor Cicilline's Providence City News:

Mayor David N. Cicilline and Greater Kennedy Plaza partners are pleased to announce KidoInfo Providence Storytime in Burnside Park! This week, the Mayor joined Anisa Raoof (publisher of Kidoinfo) and Jen Corace (illustrator of Little Pea, Little Oink, and Little Hoot, Mathilda and the Orange Balloon).

"KidoInfo Providence Storytime is the latest event in the summer initiative designed to foster a lively, fun atmosphere in the heart of our City," said Mayor Cicilline. “I couldn’t be more delighted that this effort introduces the joy of reading to children of all ages, and at the same time promotes Creative Capital artists like Jen Corace."

The Kidoinfo Providence Storytime is an all ages storyhour held outdoors in Burnside Park downtown every Tuesday from 10am - 11am throughout July and August.  Families bring a blanket and enjoy different weekly storytellers near the fountain in Burnside Park.

Kidoinfo (the popular parent guide) will feature books from local Rhode Island authors and illustrators each week this season.  Guest authors, illustrators, storytellers and performers will make books come alive for families and children.  Local businesses and organizations such as Books on the Square and the Providence Community Libraries and Providence Public Library will also be participating, making this a rich community event!

Click here for the Story Time schedule of events. And for more information about weekly programming, visit the Greater Kennedy Plaza website.

Photo Credit: Michael Christofaro

Providence pools and water parks open today,  just in time to help beat the heat. All pools and water parks are open Monday to Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

kids-swimming poolNew 2010 citywide guidelines regarding the use of public water facilities. Read below the Providence Pools and Water Parks Guidelines. A list of city public water facilities and guideline details may be found on the Parks and Recreation department web site.

- On their first visit to a City pool, all swimmers (adults and children) must register as a pool guest and take a swim test in order for pool staff to assess swimming ability and the need for adult supervision. Swim tests will be administered all day on Tuesday, July 6th and Wednesday July 7th from 12pm to 5pm, and then every day throughout the summer from 11:30am to 12:00pm, prior to the daily opening of the pools.
- The swim test consists of swimming across the width of the pool without touching the bottom. Successful passing of the test is at the determination of the senior lifeguard.
- Once guests pass the swim test, they are not required to take a swim test for the rest of the season. Swim test status (swimmer, non-swimmer) will be recorded on the pool guest’s registration card.
- Each time guests visit the pool, they will be given color-coded wristbands that indicate their swim- test status:
- Green for swimmers - Red for non-swimmers - Orange for adult-guardians of non-swimmers. - All pool patrons must wear a color-coded band.
- Children who are at least 54 inches tall and who have passed the swim test will be allowed to swim in the pools without an accompanying adult.
- Children who are between 42 and 54 inches tall and all non-swimmers must be accompanied by an adult swimmer.
- Children who are under 42 inches tall may not use the pools, regardless of whether they are super- vised by an adult. These children are encouraged instead to visit one of the City’s nine water parks.


- All guests must sign in and provide current emergency contact information.
- Adult supervisors must also provide proof of age (18 years or older) in the form of a driver’s license or other photo identification.
- An adult may accompany no more than two children in the pool at a time.
- Appropriate attire is required to be admitted to the pool area. Appropriate attire includes bathing suit or shorts with a t-shirt.
- Persons with open wounds, rashes, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes or bandages are not allowed in pool.
- Persons who are disoriented or appear to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication will not be admitted to the pool area.

Every year Rhode Island School of Design's Office of Multicultural Affairs plans a week of programming that focus on women.

Who Does She Think She is filmThis year, Women’s Focus Week will include a film screen and panel discussion highlighting the topic of motherhood and the challenges women face in balancing work and family responsibilities. Given that many laws, organizational policies, and social customs in the United States still rely on a traditional family model of a stay at home mother and working father, working women–and especially single parents–face many hardships. In this series, RISD hopes to give voice to female artists and designers who face many tough decisions, including if and when to start a family while building a career, how to divide time between childrearing and studio practice, and the societal stigmatization of working mothers and women’s art.

I recently saw this film and although I relate to it in part because I used to make my living as an artist I believe this film and panel discussion will be of interest to any mother struggling to balance work and family responsibilities.

Film Screening: Who Does She Think She Is?
Wednesday, March 24, 6:30 pm
RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal St. Providence, RI
Featured Guest: Angela Williams
Free, Open to the Public

“From the producing team, that won an Academy Award for Born Into Brothels, Who Does She Think She Is? examines some of the most pressing issues of our time: parenting and creativity, partnering and independence, economics and art. The film follows five women artists as they navigate the challenges of making work outside the elite art world.” After the film, Angela Gonsalves (a performing artist featured in the film) will discuss her experiences and answer questions.

Panel Discussion: From Her Perspective: Narratives of Work and Family
Thursday, March 25, 7-8:30, Reception to follow
Chace Center, Metcalf Auditorium, 20 North Main St. Providence, RI
Free, Open to the Public

Guest panelists Mairead Byrne, Gail Cohee, Lucinda Hitchcock, Wendy Edwards, Deana Lawson, and Keita Turner will discuss how gender and parenthood affect career and family life, especially for women in art and design. The panel will be co-moderated by Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino, professor of psychology and Ariel Bordeaux, artist and mother.


Wanda & Daughters
Photo by Deana Lawson, MFA ‘04

WendyEdwards_MixUp RISD

Wendy Edwards, Brown Dept. of Visual Art

Mairead Byrne RISD

Mairead Byrne (with her daughters), RISD English Deptartment

Plumpy'doz from EdesiaGood things happening in Providence and beyond. Edesia, a non-profit producer of life-saving Ready-to-Use Foods (RUFs), is the recipient of a $2 million multi-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Under the grant, Edesia will produce more than 300 metric tons of Nutributter® in 2010 designed to enhance the growth and motor development of children aged 6 to 24 months and used as a complement to traditional food. The packets will ensure the proper growth and cognitive development of more than 100,000 children by preventing the devastating effects of malnutrition. The grant was awarded through USAID's Office of Food for Peace through the International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP) program.

Ready-to-Use Foods (RUFs) are important in developing countries because they do not need to be refrigerated or mixed with water. Children can open it and eat it directly. In addition to producing Nutributter® Edesia makes other RUF's including Plumpy’nut® made with peanuts, sugar, milk powder, oils, vitamins and minerals and has all the essential fats, proteins and nutrients that a child need to overcome malnutrition and develop.Mother-and-Child

"Malnutrition affects 178 million children and results in more than five million child deaths each year. With Nutributter® and other RUFs, we now have a solution that addresses this silent crisis and allows us to take action during the most critical time in children's lives," said Navyn Salem, Executive Director of Edesia.


Edesia is a new non-profit based in Providence, RI, and a sister organization to Industrial Revelation in Tanzania. Edesia is dedicated to U.S. production of Plumpy'nut® and other Ready-to-Use Foods (RUFs) designed to prevent and treat malnutrition in the developing world. Edesia will collaborate on nutrition research as well as support local producers of RUF in countries most affected by malnutrition.To learn more about Edesia go to

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